Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, has been named the new House Ethics Committee chairman.
The post is the last of 21 House full committee chairmanships to be filled, and one of those directly appointed by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Those inside and outside of the committee say there had been difficulty getting someone else to take the job, given the difficult and undesired nature of heading a panel charged with policing fellow lawmakers. Its targets have ranged just this year from some of the House’s most senior to its most junior members.
Conaway’s ascendance to the chairmanship means five Texans will sit atop full committees – nearly one fourth of the 21 chairmanships. Others are Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, and Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith.
Conaway, a certified public accountant, has served on the Ethics Committee since 2009. He succeeds Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., as chairman, who had made it clear he didn’t wish to keep the gavel, which would have required his getting a waiver from internal GOP term limits.
The bipartisan committee of 10 lawmakers investigates alleged violations of the House Code of Official Conduct and can recommend penalties up to expulsion. The committee can also report to federal or state authorities evidence of a violation of law tied to the performance of a member's official duties.
Boehner, in a statement announcing the appointment on Monday, said “Mike has all the tools to be an effective Ethics Committee chairman: he is well-respected on both sides of the aisle; he’s led investigations of public officials in the past; and he understands the importance of both education and enforcement of the rules,” said Boehner.”
“The American people have every right to expect the highest standards of conduct from their elected officials, and I’m confident that under Mike’s leadership the Ethics Committee will continue to be a guardian of their trust and a guarantor of accountability in the People’s House,” he said.